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  5. "Yr Unol Daleithiau"

"Yr Unol Daleithiau"

Translation:The United States

July 31, 2016



Shouldn't this be Yr Daleithiau Unol?

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'Unol' is one of the few adjectives in Welsh that come before the noun. Its usual form is 'Unedig' which comes after the noun, meaning 'united, unified'.

Yr Unol Daleithiau was the name of the 7 united provinces of the Netherlands that declared independence from Spain in 1581.

Later on it was applied to the independent USA as Yr Unol Daleithiau America


Interesting, thanks. :-)


Just a correction you probably missed: it's Unol Daleithiau America without any Yr in front.


No, this is an exception to the usual order of words in Welsh.


In an earlier lesson, it stated that "Unol Daleithiau America" didn't need a "yr" in front to make it "The" USA. But this has. Is it because this is "A" US, not "The" US ?


Well spotted. The reason is because when you have a possessive construction in Welsh consisting of a few nouns grouped together, only the final noun can have an y(r) "the" before it, e.g.

pen y bryn "the top of the hill**

diwedd y daith "the end of the journey / the journey's end"

plant yr athro "the children of the teacher / the teacher's children"

Canolfan y Mileniwm "the Millennium Centre", lit. "the Centre of the Millennium"

You can't put an y(r) before any of these phrases in Welsh.

If you don't need an y(r) before the final word in these possessive phrases, then you still can't put it anywhere else either. There's no need for any y(r) in e.g.

pen bryn "the top of a hill"

diwedd taith "the end of a journey / a journey's end"

plant athro "the children of a teacher / a teacher's children"

canol Caerdydd "the middle of Cardiff"

The phrase Unol Daleithiau America is just like this second lot. You can't have an y(r) before America (it's never y(r) America "the America" in Welsh) and you can't have an y(r) anywhere else either. In English you'd still translate it as "the United States of America" but you never need an inital y(r) in Welsh.


Thanks, shwmae - i'm still confused though. The answer given at the top of the page as i type is 'yr Unol Daleithiau'. Is this wrong? Or is it only actively wrong if you put 'America' after the phrase? There's doubtless something I've still not understood.

It's helpful to know that 'pen bryn' and 'pen y bryn' are equivalent phrases - that has niggled at me for a while. Though (...brain cogs whirring slowly...).... how then would you express in Welsh the English 'A hill top is a windy place'?


That's right - you use yr with Unol Daleithiau but never with Unol Daleithiau America. You put the yr in front of Unol Daliethiau because there's only one noun there - taleithiau "states" (unol is an adjective, "united"), but you can't put it in front of Unol Daleithiau America because now you have that string of nouns with the final one possessing ("of") the first (and so back to my previous comment).

pen bryn means "the top of a hill" whereas pen y bryn is "the top of the hill" - those are the most literal translations. If you want to say something like "a hill top" you have to decide which of those two you mean. In the case of "A hill top is a windy place" you mean "The top of a hill is a windy place", so in Welsh: Lle gwyntog yw pen bryn.


Re the 'Yr unol Daleithiau' and 'Unol Daleithiau America' the lightbulb has finally come on! Thanks for explaining again, shwmae. Phew! Hope it stays on.

Thanks for the pen bryn /pen y bryn distinction, too. so much to learn! - Gwych ydy o. Diolch.


Croeso. I can tell by your questions you're switched on and progressing well. Daliwch ati!

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